Best Pre-Game Foods for Kids

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We all know which foods are best at a baseball game – nachos, hot dogs and popcorn to name a few – but you certainly wouldn’t want to feed your child these foods before heading onto the field. Instead, your child needs healthy snacks that will provide them with the energy that is needed to play a great game.

If you’re like many parents, you may be confused about what your child should eat before a baseball game. On one hand, you don’t want them to eat too much because it could make them uncomfortable or give them a stomachache. On the other hand, baseball games are long and require a lot of energy, and you don’t want your child to be hungry and fatigued.

Pre-game meals are important. A meal eaten before a game provides your child with energy that will last throughout the duration of the game. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels that provide energy to the muscles, and the food prevents feelings of hunger and weakness that can hinder your child’s ability to focus on the field.

Here are some guidelines to follow when choosing a snack for your child.

When to Eat

Offer your child a pre-game meal 1-4 hours before their game. This allows enough time for the food to leave the stomach and provides fuel for the length of the baseball game. Feeding your child too close to the game can cause indigestion, nausea or vomiting since the food hasn’t had a chance to leave the stomach.

How Much to Eat

The closer your child is to game time, the less they should have to eat. For example, if your child’s game is in one hour, serve them a small meal of 300-400 calories. If your child’s game doesn’t start for four hours, offer them a larger meal consisting of 700-800 calories.

What to Eat

It’s recommend that 50-60 percent of a pre-game meal consists of carbohydrates, as the body and muscles will need that energy during the game. Choose foods that contain good quality carbs and protein. Also be sure to keep your child well-hydrated by offering them water throughout the day.

Healthy snack/food ideas include:

  • Deli sandwiches
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Fresh fruit
  • Egg whites
  • Cheese and whole wheat crackers
  • Whole wheat bagel w/ cream cheese
  • Dried cereal
  • Yogurt with fruit and granola
  • Granola bar
  • Chicken stir fry
  • Pasta with meat sauce

What Not to Eat

It can be hard to stay away from sweets and fast foods when Grandma and Grandpa come to town to watch your child play in their game, but make a habit of eating healthy all day long on game days. Steer clear of high-sugar foods like donuts, sweetened cereals, candy, baked goods, soda and some fruit juices. These foods cause a high spike in sugar and then rapidly decline, leaving your child with decreased energy and mental alertness. Concentrated sweets can also draw fluids out of the gastrointestinal tract and lead to dehydration.